07 Jun 3 Things to Look out for in an Estate Agent
It’s said the most stressful events anyone will experience in life is divorce, bereavement and moving house. With 42% of marriages ending in divorce and bereavement unfortunately inevitable for everyone, it seems that out of these three events, moving house is the only one we have any control over.
To be honest, a lot of the moving process is out of our control but, at the very least, you get a say in which estate agent to go with – whether the rest of the move is stress-free will be down to a number of factors, such as how cooperative your buyers are and if you’ve instructed a decent conveyancing solicitor who will move things along quickly.
Although you can of course cut out an estate agent altogether if you’ve got a friend or family member who wants to buy your house, most people still sell their houses through a traditional estate agent.
Bearing this in mind, here are three things to look out for in an estate agent before signing the contract and allowing them to put your house on the market and deal with the sale.
Don’t be tempted by the highest valuation
It’s a good idea to invite a few estate agents around to give you a valuation, but don’t be tempted by the highest quote. It’s possible the agent may have over-valued the worth of your property to get your business and all that will happen then is you’re left with a house that doesn’t sell and you end up dropping the price anyway.
A house is only worth what someone’s willing to pay for it and potential buyers will have looked at many similar properties in the area and will know if the asking price is too high. Yes, they can make an offer but many buyers will just look elsewhere if your asking price is out of their budget.
Instead, look at other factors the estate agent can offer you. Will they market your property aggressively and get the details in front of plenty of suitable buyers? And when we say ‘suitable’, we mean buyers who are looking for a property just like yours. Showing three-bedroom three-storey townhouses to buyers who are looking for one-bedroom bungalows, for example, is just a waste of everyone’s time.
Will the agent visit your property to take photos and will there be a full-colour brochure and a listing on all the property websites, or will there just be a one page photocopy they give out to people who wander into their office off the street?
In other words, ask the estate agent what they’ll do to make your property look attractive to buyers and help you achieve a quick sale.
See what estate agents are being used locally
Your local high street is most probably full of estate agents. As well as looking in their windows to see what types of property they have on their books, have a wander around your local streets, looking for estate agents’ signs outside properties similar to yours.
It’s useful to find an estate agent who has experience selling your type of property as they’ll know the types of questions that crop up from buyers and they’ll also – more importantly – have the right type of buyers on their books.
Get recommendations of estate agents from friends and family
Although you can read reviews of local estate agents on Google and Trustpilot, etc., the most honest and unbiased reviews will come from friends and family. Ask people you know who’ve moved locally which estate agent they used, along with questions such as:
- Were they reliable?
- Were they honest?
- Did they keep you updated?
- Did you get lots of viewings?
- Did they leave the property as they found it after showing people around?
- Would you use them again?
You can also ask on local Facebook groups for recommendations but beware of estate agents covertly recommending their own workplace.
We’re not going to lie – moving is stressful and finding the right estate agent can be hit and miss. But keep in mind the above and hopefully your sale will be swift and painless.